CIHM Microfiche Series (Monographs) ICIVIH Collection de microfiches (monographies) m C*nadi». InstituM for Historical Microroproductioni / Institut Canadian da microraproductiona hiatoriquaa 996 Technical and Bibliographic Notes / Notes technique et bibliographiques The Institute has attempted to obtain the Iwst original copy available for filming. Features of this copy which may be bibliographlcally unique, which may alter any of the Images in the reproduction, or which may signiflcantiy change the usual method cf filming are checked below. 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Las imagai suivanta* ont ttt raproduilai avac la plus grand loin. eompla tanu da la condition at da la nattata da raxamplaira filmt, at an conformM avac laa conditiona du contrat da fllmaga. Original eoplaa in printad papar covara ara flltnad baginning with tha front covar and anding on tha laat paga with a printad or illuatratad impraa- aion, or tha back covar whan appropriata. All othar original copiaa ara filmad baginning on tha firat paga with a printad or illuatratad Itnpraa- aion, and anding on tha laat paga with a printad or illuatratad improaaion. Tha laat racordad frama on aach microficha ahall contain tha symbol -•^ (moaning "CON- TINUED"), or tha aymbol V (moaning "END"), whiehavar appliaa. Laa axamplalraa origlnaux dont la couvartura »n papiar aat imprimta iont filmte an eommancant par la pramiar plat at an tarminant loit par la darnitra paga qui eomporta una amprainia d'Impraaaion ou d'illuatration, soit par la sacond plat, talon la cat. Tout laa autrat axamplairas origlnaux aont fllmAa an commandant par la pramlAra paga qui eomporta una amprainta d'Impraaaion ou d'illuatration at an tarminant par la darniAra paga qui eomporta una lalla amprainia. Un daa aymbolaa auivanta apparaltra tur la darniira imaga da chaqua microficha, talon la caa: la tymboia —^ tignifia "A SUiVRE". la tymbolo V tignifia "FIN". Mapa. plalat. charts, ate, may ba filmad at diffarant raduction ratiot. Thota too larga to ba antiraly includad in ana axpoaura ara filmad baginning in tha uppar laft hand cornar, laft to right and top to bonom, as many framaa as raquirad. Tha following diagrams illustrata tha mathod: Las cartaa. planchas. tablaaux. ate. pauvant itre filmto A daa aux da raduction difftrants. Lorsqua la documant aat trop grand pour itra raproduit an un saul clich*. il ast filma t partir da I'angla supAriaur gaucha. da gaucha t droita. at da haul an baa, an pranant la nombrs d'imagaa ndcaasaira. Laa diagrammas tuivantt illuttrant la mOthoda. 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 MCtOCOPY HSOIUTION TIST CHART (ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) _A /APPLIED I^A^EE In ^p*- 1653 East Main Street B-,S Rochsster. Nbw v-'k U609 USA 'J^ (716) 4B2 - 0300 - Phone ^5 (716) 288 - S9B9 - fox r = F * * -K HE ANGEL AND THE STAR iiy RALPH CONNOR TORONTO; THE WESTMINSTE; COMPANY LIMITED y THE ANGEL AND THE STAR ^i r f WOHSa BY THE SAMS AUTUOR THE SKY PILOT 8>. ; popular edition, M, BLACK ROCK 6«. ; popnUr edition, Od. THE DOCTOR OF CROWS NEST THE MAN FROM GLENGARRY 6f. GLENGARRY DAYS 6f. THE PROSPECTOR Of. GWEN 3*. M. THE PirX)T AT SWAN CREEK ht. LoHooN : HODDER AND 8TOUGHTON t5iit /Injiel anl) t5be 0tar T-' RALPH CONNOR THE WESTMINSTER COMPANY LIMITED TORONTO I ps 'BUS Z7S^97' lO MY I1EI.0VKD TEOrLE OK ST. SIEI'HEN 9 WHO SO I.OVAI.I.V nKAll WITH MK AND I'UAV KOIl .ME AND WOIIK WITH ME IN THE kino's SEKVICK corVKiGirr, 1908, Westminster company, ltd. THE ANGEL ^'HE day's work was done in Bethlehem. The sound of hammer and of loom, the cries of hawkers and of traders, the noises of the bustling crowds that thronged the tortuous streets were still. With the sunset, rest had come to the workers— not to all. In the little house of the Chief Shepherd in charge of the sacrificial flocks there was a stir, for he was about to depart for his nightly watch on the plains below the city. Of the royal line of David, he bore in his face and carried in his mien the marks of his noble blood. His wife, also of this royal line, waited upon her lord at his evening meal, pausing now and then to hush the feeble wail of the babe she carried with her to and fro. Upon her husband's face a heavy shadow lay, for his heart was hot and his spirit bitter within him. Long before, his independent carriage and proud spirit had drawn the persecuting wrath of Herod, for no one of noble blood was safe from the fierce suspicions and savage jealousy of that Idumean usurper. His only safety had been in submission, bitter to his soul ; THE ANGEL AND THE STAR and ever and again the servile courtiers of that mon- strous, blood-reeking tyrant found much pleasure and some profit in harrying still further the humbled man. By the cloud upon his face his gentle wife knew that some fresh outrage had been done that day, and with wise and loving words she strove to lure his mind to the serene heights of faith and hope. She talked of the gathering of their tribe for the Roman taxing into their ancient royal city, and of the glories of their past. The shadow only deepened upon her husbwid's face. Well she knew his thought. " Jehovah reigneth," she quoted. " Verily the signs of His Kingdom are few," he re- plied bitterly. "He shall judge His people with righteousness," again she quoted. " Righteousness ! " he cried. " There is none in this land any more. 'The wicked walk on every side' when the vilest men are exalted." " Hush ! " she said, gently closing the door. " Righteousness ! " he exclaimed bitterly again. " Not so loud, I entreat thee. The Roman guard hath just gone by." "The Roman? I fear him not He is just at heart The Roman lion fears not the strong, and seizes what he desires. But these jackals of Herod plunder and harry the weak and broken of the flock. To-day they made fresh demands, and, remembering thee, I smote them not, but paid my toll, while they taunted me 'Where is thy God ?'" Then after long silence he burst forth, "Lord Jehovah, how long? I BKSEECH IHKE HEAH ME AND (iHANT IS SUSIE QIIET SPOT THE ANGEL AND THE STAR Wilt Thou be angry for ever ? How long wilt Thou hear the bitter cry of Thy people ? Pour out Thine indignation upon them. Let Thy burning anger take hold upon them. Let their habitation be desolate. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living," His voice rose and fell in the terrible chant of the Hebrew poet-king of old. " Why didst thou cease ? " she chided gently. " Doth not the words follow, ' For Jehovah heareth the poor. God will save Jerusalem and will build the cities of Zion ' ? And again, ' He shall judge the poor. He shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.' " " Will He, indeed, break Herod and his might in pieces, with great Rome behind him ? " he asked, rising to take his staff and his cloak as well, for the nights were chilL " Yea, verily, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it. The Angel of the Covenant is mighty ,'' she replied. " Angel ? " he questioned, " Priest Ezra says there are none, and I confess I never saw any.'' A quick anger flashed in her face. " It is written, 'Thou shalt not speak evil of thy rulers,' but the Sadducee I believe not. Did not the Angel speak with Abraham our father, and with Jacob at Bethel, and with Moses the man of God at the Bush, and with Gideon, and with the holy prophets ? " "That is all far away from us to-day," he replied gloomily. " But Jehovah is near us," she answered quickly. " Nay, do not yield to unbelief. See," with a swift THE ANGEL AND THE STAR change of tone and holding up her babe, "he seems stronger, he smiles at thee. Jehovah keep him safe • " « lor what?" he asked bitterly, but he laid down the staff and took the babe. Reverently lifting his eyes he mvoked blessing, "Jehovah grant thee p^ace," and gave him to his mother. But the babe, to his fathers joy, clung fast, till with penUe force the mother took it from his arms. "Come to thy mother, child. Thy father must go to his sheep, to ward off the fierce beasts and the fierce robbers And indeed, I often fear for thee, my hus- band, till I cannot sleep." " -^"M «^* ' " '"''' ^^^ ^^»^nd, his gloomy mood passing. "What of thy faith now? What of thy God and His angels ? " ' " Ah yes, thou hast well said. ' He shall give His angels charge over thee.' I wiU not fear." " Angels again ! " « Yes, 'He shall give His angels charge over thee to S^thtT"'" **^''' ""'^ ** *° "" ""^^ ^ "'"■ "One anpl at least I know, nay two," he said, kissing his babe agaii. ' "Go, haste. I shall watch thee down the hill And His angels guard thee safe." fwu''t'?^"i""''^ *"™''^ fr"™ *« street into the paUi that led far out on to the sloping hills lying dim and distant, then turned with a sigh to her little homo, ner sick babe in her arms. .hrSdt KZ °^">^^-'^-'-^ W be delayed." r.lK SIlKlMlKlll. ..AY WITH 111, KKI.I.OW HAT.IIKIIS »N TllK III1.1.S11>K THE ANGEL AND THE STAR »»,^^"T .*'"'""'*"''• "'"■'^'"g <'°*n the highway that led out into the country. «w Wore him a STu J chaffTn- T "'^*^"' ^"' ""'""^ bargainbf^S chaffering for a lodging. In vain they pled. In vSn £;^rS'inr '^""^ -"^^^^ "p- ^^ «(irT^*Lr"'1, T' ""^ '"**''«"?'' he protested. rooTto rt *i " '«'*? _,% house i, filled from th™^ T^IS^""!,' ^"* '* " »*"« than the street." they grumbled, and poured in. Two had stood apart from the rude crt.wd. a man Mid a woman, the man in sore distress. "Brother," he entreated, drawing near to the inn- te'n'" ^r "r* "^ ''''^'''•'^' •" the name of our fether David, I beseech thee hear me and gra.>t u. «wne quiet spot, not for myself, but for the woman, who IS as you see." tumS '^'■^u'^' "°""« ^'^ """"«'' *hose face was turned quickly away, paused. That face by its sweet topped abruptly "There is no place for wife and child of my own to lay their head. But," cLncinK sorrow, "there ,s-- once more he hesitated, "thf «table-and fresh fodder; at least it is quiet." Quickly the woman turned to her husband and THE ANGEL AND THE STAR whispered a word, then bending her head with un- apeakable grace she murmured, "The Lord give thee peace. The God of our father David bless thee," and moved towards the stable, followed by her husband. The innkeeper stood silent with bared and bent head while she passed, awed by the dignity of that gentle face, and touched by her need. " Now may the God of Abraham and Sarah grant thee mercy," he murmured, looking after them. "Who are they?" asked the Shepherd reverently, for he too had uncovered his head as they passed. " Nay," answered I he innkeeper testily, " dost think I know every travellar from the north country ? But I must go and make what comfort I can for them.'' Long after the Shepherd lay with his fellow watchers on the hillside, the vision of that face, with its gentle dignity and it« foreshadow of pain, kept coming to him. He would havd gone home to his wife for her help, but he dared not leave his place. But the thought of the woman haunted him, the music of her voice in blessing still sounded in his ears, "Jehovah give thee peace." Was there anything in it? Again his old harassing doubts and his bitter thoughts came hard upon him, forbidding the sleep that had fallen upon his fellow watchers, while through his heart echoed the ancient taunt, "Where is thy God?" Was Jehovah in very deed keeping watch over Israel? How then of the Roman oppression, the degradation of the ancient Throne of David in the pagan Herod, the barrenness of the Pharisaic legalism, the worldly scepticism of the Sadducee ? THE ANGEL AND THE STAR *i,?^,^ '*i".Y ^^ *''• "'K'"- H« w-Jd hear the breathing of the .heep r him. the lonely cry of the jackal from the canyon. Gradually under the tranquil silence of the night hn troubled heart mw quiet The wng of his great ancestor, himself a Aephenl, came to him, "Jehovah is my shepherd. I *5 JL'^'t/Tu'" T^ "^^ **» P^« His ang;,ls cha^. He thought of his wife's faith. The aneeU might well enough be about her. The face of the woman in the street so near her sorrow came to him. in that face he found the same suggestion of the presence and peace of Jehovah. ITirough the great past of his people his mind traveUed. The great men ^ his race were great only at. they held to Jehovah. Yes. and tven in the darkest days there had been those who had dared to believe in Jehovah and to wait for Him. He thought of Jacob at Bethel, Moses in the desert far south yonder with his flocks, of David hunted by his enemy and again by his own son, of Israel m Babylonian exile, yet Jehovah had never quite forsaken, but in the darkest hour the Angel of the Covenant had comforted them. Jehovah had redeemed His people. Might it not be again ? Never had darker days fallen for the people of God, their land under a foreign yoke, their people torn by religious dissensions, their religious leaders fiercely fighting each other for place and power or consumed with lust for gold. He bowed his face between his knees and cried out into the night, «0 Lord, how long? Wilt Thou be angry for ever? Hast Thou fonjotten to be gracious ? " r. u^ THE ANGEL AND THE STAR A» if in aiuwer, a great calm fell upon him. A ludden faith lubdued hii wul into itillneis. " I will .remember the yean of the most High. I will re. member thy wonden of oM." Jehov^ teemed very near. He rote and itood with hit face wrapped in hit mantle. Hb very toul teemed to be liitening for the fbotfalli of God. All nature teemed to be aware of tha» Great Pret-nce. About him he fancied ho could hear the breathing of the hills, the heart-beat of the night, the music of the stars. Music f Hark ! He threw back his mantle and lifted up his face to the start. His toul was ba*thed in a flood of ineffable joy. What was it ? Music seemed to be raining from the stars in an exquisite faintness of melody ; fa)m beyond the stars, so far and fine it seemed. He listened, his soul and being tense in a quivering agony to hear. Ves, there again and fuller came the sounds, still from beyond the stars. But the very stars teemed nearer, the heavens above had bent closer to the hills, as if to take them into their embrace. Again and yet again and ever clearer that falling shower of song filled the ai' about him, and nearer and nearer came 'he stars irradiating the night The sleeping watchers woke, startled, rose, stood voiceless and terror-stricken. And now from the parted curtains of heaven a light began to glow brighter than the stars, making a shining pathway to earth, and spreading over all the sky till it filled the night with glory ; and down this quivering pathway myriads of shining ones streamed till ihey filled the 1M)WN THIS yriVKllIN'i FATHW.W lIVItlADS HI' SHiMN*; ONKSl STHKAMKI) THE ANGEL AND THE STAR earth and the spaces between earth and sky, and still they thronged in the far vanishing spaces of the opened heavens. Ravishing music smote in soft waves upon the ears of the Shepherd gazing into this cloud of glory, and filled his soul with a joy fearful and un- speakable. From every side seemed to come those wondrous harmonies, not from the Heavenly choirs alone but from the earth, the trees, the hills, yes, from the very blades of grass. Suddenly, out from the throbbing music a voice broke clear and strong. " Fear not," it said, and the Shepherd's heart grew quiet, " I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." At that word there burst from Heaven a mighty chorus : " Glory to God. in the highest On earth peace. Good-will to men." Over and over again pealed forth the mighty chorus in antiphonal refrain ; earth from its central depths, from its hills and valleys, from its rocks and trees, answering Heaven's celestial choirs. Prone upon their faces fell the Shepherd and his comrades, faint with ecstasy of delight. When they awoke, they said one to the other, "What is this?" and one said, "Is it a vision ? " "It is a dream," answered another. "It is but a dream." THE ANGEL AND THE STAR Then spake the Chief Shepherd, " Nay, verily it is no dieam, but Jehovah hath visited His people. Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and ses this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." Already the day was dawning. Through the break in the eastern hills a silver light could be seen gleaming upon the Sea of Judgment far away, upon the northern Judean hills a faint flush from the rising sun, and over city and plain the new glory of a dawning day. But, all unheeding, the Shepherd hastened homeward in a trance of ecstatic joy and wonder. The great tidings still sounded in his soul. At last the Messiah, Israel's Messiah, had come. After so many ages and generations of passionate yearning and prayer, Grod had visited His people. And oh, wonder of wonders ! As a babe ! A babe ! He thought of his own feeble babe with new tenderness and new reverence, and of the mother that gave him birth. And in a manger ! A manger for the Messiah ! Why not in a palace ? Ah, what palace ? Not the gorgeous palace where the monstrous Herod luxuriated in his hideous infamies. After all, a stable was best ! He needed no trappings of royalty that earth could give. He brought His glory with Him. A babe ! and in a manger ! Again he hastened his steps towards his own door. As he drew near a sound from within smote his heart with the chill of the grave. It was the wail for the dead. Like the stab of a sword the contrast pierced his heart. Yonder— joy, peace, life ; here— grief, agony, death. THE ANGEL AND THE STAR He paused, turned and looked back upon the plain behind where the vision had fallen. Once more he saw the open heaven, still he could hear the ravishing song, « Peace, good-will to men." He was strangely comforted. Earth, its sorrows and its joys, seemed small to him who had been gazing into Heaven's glory, and listening to Heaven's music and welcoming Heaven's King. He passed into his home. At his coming the wailing only took a shriller note. With outstretched arms his wi: came to him, dreading his agony, fearing for his faith, praying for his submission. With a single word he silenced the mourners. "Peace, He is come." Amazed they gazed upon him. Fearful, his wife drew near. Had madness seized him P "Fear not, but rejoice, the Messiah is come," he said, his face filled with a wondering exultation and joy. " Death hath no longer power over Life. From Heaven the Prince of Life is come. And with Jehovah are the living for evermore." And, standing there, to their astonished ears he told the wondrous story. A babe ! a manger ! Speech- less, afraid and unbeliev' ^, the mourners stole from the house, leaving the tw, ,fith their dead alone. Timidly she touched his arm as he stood wrapped in silence. « Tell me, my lord, can it be true ? How can it be ? " "True, dear one? Yea, verily, but how J know not. What we heard and saw that I have told you, and yonder in the stable lies the babe." THE ANGEL AND THE STAR The babe ! Alive in its mother's arms ! Her arms were empty. Quickly her husband gathered her to his heart. "Dear one, I cannot weep to-day because of the great joy that has come. And even though death has touched our babe, death's victory is gone. They live, they live whom God hath loved. A babe's hand hath opened to me the gates of life. Listen, dear heart," and once more he told the story of the Angel's visit, of the glory and the song, while she wondered till her pain grew less, though tears still fell upoi. the little sleeping face. " And in the stable we found the babe and the mother— and in sore need." A wise wofyI \\, WAS " Ah," her woman's heart awoke, " May we go to her ? " she asked. "Come," he said. " Wait for me," she said softly. From a closet m the wall she took the little garments she had made with tei der hopes but a few months ago, her tears falling fast the while, and wrapping them up with some woman's robing, she went forth. " Guard the house," said her husband to the lingering and pitying mourners, "but wail not for the dead to-day." And so through the still, silent streets they went. At the stable door they found a man. « May she enter ? She has lost faer babe." Quickly the kind face, radiant with light and love, shadowed for an instant but cleared again. « Jehovah give thee peace," he said. " Weep no more, for He is come. Enter." THE ANGEL AND THE STAR An hour passed while the Shepherd waited, reverent as at the court of the Most Holy Place. Then came forth his wife and put hev hand in his. " Is it well ? " he asked simply. "It is well," she replied. And he needed no more, for Jehovah's peace lay like a light upon her face. And so they passed back to their home with the Angel's song chanting itself through their hearts, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men." For where the Christ comes death hath no more dominion for ever. II THE STAR T'HE city of Jerusalem was troubled, was deeply troubled. Through its crowded streets had run a rumour that had kindled to flame the national Messianic hopes. A distinguished embassy from a far East land had come two nights ago, upon a strange quest. They had come seeking a King. At first men had laughed, but tl"> grave majesty of the strangers, and the costly trapL .igs of their caravan, had changed the laughter to serious attention, and before the first iiight had gone, the streets and markets, the bazaars and wineshops were thrilling with the news. From the street to the Palace the ramour had run, and Herod himself, at first scornful, had deigned to summon the travellers to his presence. To-day at early dawn a strange thing had happened. The Great Council had been called by the King. That Idumean usurper, un- certain of his throne, hated by his people, despised Sy the noble families as an upstart, loathed by the priests as an apostate trembled at every breath of Messianic enthusiasm, at every suggestion of a rival. He had shown his fear by summoning the Great Council. This whole day had they been in session. Jerusalem was well nigh mad with anxiety. THE ANGEL AND rHE STAR The appearance of a Messianic leader, the sounding of one clear Messianic cry through these streets, and Jerusalem would run with blood. No wonder Jerusalrm was troubled. \Vhat would the next hour bring? In tense fear they waited. What would come forth from that fortress Palace ? Night was falling, when from the gorgeous Palace gates came forth the Embassy from the East, travel- worn but stately, and following them the Council. In a moment from lip to lip ran the word that nothing need be feaied. And all Jerusalem, the light-hearted" gay, fiercely religious, cosmopolitan city, relaxed itself in scornful laughter at its recent panic. What fools they had been ! A few foolish astrologers had seen a star in the East and had guessed a King was to be bom. What accursed folly was this ! But what could you ex- pect of these Gentile dogs, and worshippers of idols ? And now they were gone seeking their King in Bethlehem ! In Bethlehem ! as if a King could there be born and Jerusalem and its wise and learned scribes be unaware. And Jerusalem turned to its bargaining and sacrificing, its praying and its wine-drinking, much relieved. In due time that strange caravan had reached the terraced hills of Bethlehem. No need of guide, for once free of the city steadily burned before them a wondrous star. Bethlehem was puzzled. Whence came these strange men .? And w'lo was that majestic figure in command ? The rabble gathered about them. At the inn they paused. THE ANGEL AND THE STAR Their leader of kingly carriage and of patriarchal mien gave command. The beasta were unburdened, and from the load one hamper wa» selected and brought near. The innkeeper with obsequious hospitality offered thelter and refreshment. But the little company drew together and talked. « How shall we make approach ? " said one. «' Who will bring us to Him ?" Then after some grave and earnest deliberation, their leader turned to the inn- keeper. ^ "Can we find one to present us to the King? he asked in the Hebrew tongue. " The King ? " said the innkeeper. » What King ? " •'The King of the Jews." " Nay," laughed the innkeeper scornfully, " he lives not in so humble a place as Bethlehem, though yonder is a palace he has built. In Jerusalem you will find the King of the Jews, not here." '•Nay, friend," the leader answered with grave dignity, " He is here, bom, and yonder is His star." " His star ! " cried the innkeeper. " Now Jehovah defend us. Thou art mad. Whence art ye ? " " From the rising sun. Many weeks have we travelled seeking this King, for we saw the rising of His star in the East long months ago." " His star ? Are ye then of those who follow such accursed vanities and worship the abominations of the heathen ? If so, there is no place for ye in my inn." "Nay, we worship God," reverently replied the stranger with unruffled calm, "and would fain do hi: .v>ki:i> in mik hkiikku THE ANOEL AND THE STAR honwg* to Hit nMMenger, the King of the Jewi, whow (tar we have fuHoweid rrom JeniMlem to thii place." **Kiiig of the Jewt?" impatiently replied the inn- keeper. "Here, ihepherd," he called to the Giief Shepherd of the lacrificial flock, who wai paning to hii nightly watch, " thou art skilled in these matter*. What means t'.iis folly of the stars ? " The Shepherd turned to the Man of the East and gravely saluted him. " Jehovah give thee peace. What wouldst thou f " " We come seeking the King of the Jews, for in a land far from this we saw, many months ago, the rising of His star, and we have come to do Him homage. But no man can we find who can give us guiding to his presence, not even Herod." "Herod!" exclaimed the Shepherd scornfully. "Sought ye a King from that usurper?" "Hush," saiu the innkeeper, glancing about upon the crowd. "Thou art mad to speak thus in the street" " But," continued the Man of the East. " his Coun- cil directed us to Bethlehem, saying it was there the King was to be bom." " Bom ! " said the Shepherd quickly. "Yea, and as we left the city His star appeared again, and lo ! there it stands over that house before us. But we have none to bring us fittingly to Him." The Shepherd stood silent as in a great maze, look- ing at the luminous star that hung low over the house. " Truly this is wonderful," he said slowly, " for in that THE ANGEL AND THE STAR house abides a Babe with its mother, at whose birth strange things came to pass. But how came ye to hear?" " Yonder is His star," calmly said the Man from the East " His star ! what has he to do with stars ? " " Ay, verily, and so said I," interrupted the innkeeper. " lliese be cursed and unclean worshippers of the host of heaven." " Nay, friend, we worship God and seek His anointed, the King of the Jews. Knowest thou this mother and this Babe? " he said to the Shepherd. " I know the Babe and the mother ; come," and he led them to the house where the young Child was and departed to his nightly watch deeply musing. Truly mystery deepened about this Babe. How wonderful that these Gentiles in their far country should have come to know of Him ! How wonderful they should have found their way to Bethlehem ! Their story of the Star meant little to the Shepherd. For him the stars had no message, and yet as he stood upon his lonely hillside gazing upward at the splendid pageant of the night the words of his ancestor the Poet-King came to him : "When I consider Thy Heavens, The moon and the stars that Thou didst ordain! What is man that Thou art mindful of him. And the son of man that Thou visitest him ! " Never again would the old doubts harass him. That night of glorious vision had changed all things. Jehovah THE ANGEL AND THE STAR had visited His people. Heaven with its stars, Earth with Its pecples would henceforth seem nearer to him and dearer, and Jehovah would for ever seem his Friend. An hour passed when the fretful voice of the innkeeper roused him. « Hither Shepherd, and relieve me of this mad star- gazer, for he would take no rest nor give me any till I had brought him to thee." " Be at peace, friend," said the Man of the East, placing a piece of gold in his hand. " Now go." The tone and gesture of command struck the inn- keeper dumb, and murmuring a word of thanks, he hastily retired, leaving the two upon the starlit hillside together. " Listen, my brother," said the Man from the East, "for I would speak with thee, and I cannot rest till I know what my heart craves." He paused, then said abruptly, " Tell me of this Babe ; of His birth." The Shepherd hesitated. " Why should 1 tell thee? thou art not of T' n I." " Thou hast t : i oken, yet shouldst thou tell me." " And wherefor " For two reasons. Thou knowest thy law concern- ing the stranger ? " The Shepherd bowed assent. "I am a stranger and in deep need." Touched by the pathetic dignity of that simple appeal the Shepherd took his hand in sympathy. « And further if this Babe indeed be Messiah to Israel then surely He is to more than Israel. Else what mean these words of thine ancient prophets, 'In Him shall the Gentiles trust' and again, 'They that dwell in the wilderness shall THE ANGEL AND THE STAR bow before Him.' If He be thy Messiah, then to-night is this Scripture fulfilled." The Shepherd pondered. "Surely thou art no worshipper of false gods." " Nay ; I worship God," simply interposed the Man of the East. « And more," continued the Shepherd, as if to him- self, "the song said, ' Good-will to men.'" "Tell me," entreated the stranger, his proud face softened by pain to humility, "for my heart is heavy from long years of agony." But the age-long Jewish hate and jealous scorn ot the Gentile held the Shepherd silent. To spealc of Israel's Messiah to this alien and worshipper of stars, to him seemed sacrilege. « Let me tell thee my story," said the Man of the East at length, " perhaps then thy hard heart shall melt." And to the shuddering ears of the Shepherd he told a tale of sin and lust and blood and treachery so terrible that it seemed to defile the very night. "Then when I had drunk the dregs, my heart within me woke and cried for vengeance till I grew mad with desperate remorse. In vain I offered sacri- fices upon the altars of the gods ; in vain I poured forth treasure at the bidding of their priests. Deeply I studied, many lands I travelled seeking peace, but ever that cry of vengeance night and day echoed through the spaces of my soul, till life became one long agony. The mysteries of our religion I mastered, the wisdom of the heavens I searched, but found no help. At length to the wisest and the best of the priesthood THE ANGEL AND THE STAR of our luiiil I went, an old man who lived remote from the world's fevers and ambitions, its joys and griefs. I told him my story. Swift was his answer ' What thou lovest best, offer that to God and thou shalt find jieace.' Like a sword in my bones was that word, for I had but one son, a beautiful youth. I turned away from the priest with my sin and my agony upon me. Vainly I sought escape! Vainly I sought peace ! Then I remembered thy Abraham, and, for the sin of my soul, I offered the fruit of my bmly. Ah ! My son ! My son ! But even that sacrifice availed not. From that high altar I came down cursing the gods of my people, an<l determined that I should seek no longer peace in life but death. That night, as I swept the heavens in my last study of the mysteries, my eye caught the rising of a star of wondrous light and beauty. As if from Heaven a voice cried, ' Follow where I lead,' and faint hope trembled in my heart. I knew that somewhere a Great One was to he born who might have help for me. But where > All books I studied in the light of my knowledge of the stars, till in thy sacred Ixioks I read thus of thy coming King. ' The Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising.' And again, 'From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name and a peace offering, for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith Jehovah of hosts.' I obeyed the leading of the Star, and following, we have fou-- J Him. And now we have done our homage THE ANGEL AND THE STAR m and offi-red our gifts. But still my hearths anguish h unappcosed. The King has come truly whose Kingdom shall rule over all Kingdoms. But what of my sin ? " The Shepherd was deeply moved at the marvellous and terrible story. " Said she naught of sins ? " he asked. *' Nay, we spoke little. In a King's presence we are silent. But if thou hast aught to tell, send me not bick unhelped, for my sin is more than I can bear." The agony in his face touched the Shepherd's heart. He forgot his Jewish prejudice. "Listen," he said, and told the story of the angels and the song. With eager face the stranger listened, deeply anxious, deeply perplexed. When the tale was done there was long silence, then the Man of the East spoke. " Good-will to men ! a Saviour ! Good ! But angels ! 1 know naught of them." " Nor I of stars." A light broke upon the swarthy face of the Mac of the East. " Oh," he cried aloud, " but thee an Angel and me a Star led to the King. Praised be God ! " Then after long musing he spake with trembling voice, "Oh, my brother! can it be — thinkest thou — can there be with God for the sinful — peace?" " Yea verily. It is written ' with Thee there is forgiveness that Thou may est be feared.'" " But how ? " " By confession and sacrifice," the Shepherd had almost answered, but remembering the stranger's terrible story he hesitated, then said, " Hope thou in Jehovah." THE ANGEL AND THE STAR - In Jehovrfil" replirf the ttimnger Mdly, «thy Godl" " Verily and the God of thi«B»be." '*Ah! the King of the Jewi r « Ye« I and ' in Him ihaU the Gentiles tnwt'" Tfce itimi^ stood long silent gazing across the hills at tin wondrous Star. Then he took the Shepherd's hand. «Jehovah tty God bless thee," hts said, his jrmce vibrating and deep. "In Jehovah and in His King there is hope. I shall try to be content" "Jehovah give thee peace," replied the Shepherd. Ijien they parted. "Stay," said the Shepherd. The stranger turned. " Spoke the mother the name of the Babe ?" "Yea. ItisJeshua." " Knowest thou how it was (riven ? " "Nay." "An Angel said, ♦He should save His people from their sins.'" "^ The dark-faced man drew near. « Tell me again," he entreated with trembling lips. " What said the An^?" "Thou shalt call his name Jeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins." Then broke the suanger's proud reserve. The fountain of his tears were broken up. He turned toward the Star, and prostrating himself, he wor- dUpped. Then with reverent grace he kissed the Miepherd, weeping, and went his way. " Is it peace ? " spake the Shepherd after him. " It is peace ! " came back from the star-lit darkness, md gazing at the Star the Shepherd wondered and bowed his head and worshipped. PMIKTItD BT ■ Afri.I., WATiOM AMI VINCT, I.D., LOMUOil AMD ATLRnkl^at.